How to Repair Baseboard Radiant Heat

thermostat that reads 70 degrees
  • 1-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-500

When your baseboard radiant heat system goes on the blink, you may want to give the repair a try on your own before hiring a heating repair specialist. Here are a few tips on how to repair your baseboard radiant heater.

Step 1 - Troubleshoot the Problem

The problem might be that airflow is restricted or blocked from entering your heating unit. Another problem might be that the damper is closed. If you have had your baseboard heater for a long time, dust and other particles have most likely accumulated over the years and might cause the heater to produce less heat.

When this is the case, take off the metal cover, open the metal damper and remove the front panel. You can then remove all the accumulated dirt off with a towel or a vacuum hose. Once you replace the damper and the metal cover, the heater should start to work properly.

Step 2 - Deal with Trapped Air

baseboard heater below a large window

If you have air trapped in your baseboard heating system, you might be able to fix your unit without calling in the experts. To remove the air from your unit, you first need to turn off the system. Make sure you know which valves are open or closed so you know how your system is operating with the valves in place.

To prevent excessive pressure from building up, close the valves. Drain all of the water from the heating system with a garden hose. Then open the valves between the fill valve and the valves that drain the water. You should not see any air bubbles coming out. Repeat this with each valve. Once all the air bubbles are removed, disconnect the garden hose. Check that all the valves are positioned in their original form and then restart the boiler.

If you own a hot water baseboard, a different set of problems might be preventing your heater from generating heat. The boiler might not have any power left. The propane control valve to the boiler burner could be closed. This can also happen if you do not have enough water. Make sure the tank is halfway full. You also need to keep the water level at a 12 to 15 psi pressure.

Be careful not to add too much water. There can be a failure with the thermostat. Make sure the appropriate thermostat setting is on. You want to maintain the thermo level in heat mode. Other issues with the thermostat might be that the battery level is low, the circuit breaker might be fused, or the wires may be loose.

Some portable heaters also come with a safety switch, which allows electricity to go through. If the heating unit is tipped over, the safety switch automatically turns off. Open up your heating unit and make sure the safety switch is turned on.